Thursday, January 10, 2013

About Type 2 Diabetes

First of all, I am aware that there is TONS of information available about diabetes.  TONS.  I am not going to try and tell you everything there is to know about it, or how to treat it, or even how to get it (because if you don't know - you really should take a few minutes and look it up so you can avoid it).

What I do want to share is my journey with diabetes.  I want to share how it effects my life, some choices that I have made to improve my diabetes, and some choices that I made that hindered me.  Type 2 diabetes is CURABLE and very TREATABLE if you are willing to take the steps you need to take in order to defeat the disease.  Personally, I'm still working on it.

Looking back I can see where it started.  I don't think anyone really recognized the symptoms, but they were already present when I was a young teenager.  I was thirsty all the time, I went to the bathroom a lot, I got dizzy and tired a lot.  It was easy to think it was just hormonal or growth when I was young.  People didn't talk about diabetes as much back then - at least not as far as I can remember.

The first sign that I recognized was when I was 20.  I had a physical for college and my random blood sugar was "borderline".  The doctor wanted me to do a follow up test.  It did not happen for various reasons that I will not explain right now.  About 4 years later I began testing my own blood sugars.  I had no health insurance, and no means of getting help.  I tried to control my sugars by eating better.  I was a busy seminary student and figured I could make things better on my own.

2 years later I had a full time job and health insurance.  I began learning about my disease.  Since that time it has been a battle.  Some of the battle is related to health insurance, but a lot of the problem is my own poor choices.  

My Poor Choices and Healthy Choices
* As a youth I loved soda.  I already stated that I was thirsty - a lot.  I would sit down at a restaurant and drink 4 or 5 glasses of soda.  YIKES! That was a nightmare for my body and I had no idea.  Later on, once I recognized my diabetes, I switched from soda to juice.  I thought that juice would certainly be better for me because, hey - it's fruit.  This did not help my blood sugars, instead it continued to harm my body.  Eventually I learned that juice was not a healthy choice for me and switched to diet sodas.  Now I have completely cut sodas out of my diet.  I wish someone had known how detrimental soda was when I was a child and could have stopped the habit before it started.

* I have always loved bread, and pasta, and potatoes, and.... the list goes on.  My body craves sweet foods.  My body has been addicted to sugar for as long as I can remember.  It was easy enough to cut out desserts for a while - I could fill that gap with other starch laden foods and be content.   Those other white foods have been a struggle - some days they still are.  I very rarely serve pasta in my home because when I have just a little bit, I can't stop until it's gone.  I CRAVE it, my body is certain that it NEEDS more.  
      I've read quite a bit about sugar addictions.  It is a real problem.  I have tried a couple of times to go on a sugar fast - completely cut sugar out of my diet for a period of several weeks, I do not have the will power to do it at this point.  We have reduced our intake of these harmful foods.  Unfortunately the "experts" say that our bodies need some of the sugars or they will go into panic mode and that further complicates diabetes.

* My biggest struggle may be exercise.  I know - I KNOW that I need to exercise regularly.  My blood sugars are not in good control without exercise (or a vast amount of medicine).  I choose again and again to begin better, healthier exercise routines.  It is very difficult for me to stick to it.  We are doing better, and I can see the results when I check my blood sugars - especially when I test before and after I exercise.  I'm getting there.

* Randy and I learned very early in our marriage that eating out is simple, creates little mess, and is rewarding to our taste buds.  We have been back and forth on a spectrum of eating out many days a week, to eating out very rarely.  We have recently moved back to our very rarely eating out - we like this.  We love the foods that we can make at home.  We like experimenting with different healthy options.  We are learning as a family to make healthier choices.

Diabetes and my Daily Life
* Having diabetes does not mean that I am limited in my abilities.  It does not mean that I have to live differently than others.  It does mean that I have to test my blood sugars regularly.  I have to take medicine daily right now to keep my blood sugars in check.  I get extremely tired in the middle of the day.  In fact, many days I nap when my children nap because I cannot make through the day otherwise.  

* Because of my diabetes, I am very concerned about the future for my family.  I have seen some of the effects diabetes can have as it progresses.  I want to be around with my children and grandchildren.  I want to be a part of my family as my children grow and become men. 

* My daily decisions about food are effected by my desire to live in a way that honors God and allows me to be part of my family in the future.  I am frequently looking for low-carb breakfast options (that is always my hardest meal).  I regularly search pinterest for foods that look like they will be appealing for my family, and meet my dietary preferences. 

Diabetes and You
Do you or someone in your life have diabetes? How does it effect your family?  How do you make the best decisions possible about health?  How do you motivate yourself to make the changes necessary to conquer your disease?


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